Strategy For Redeeming American Systemwide Upgrades?

One of the most valuable perks of being an American Executive Platinum member are the systemwide upgrades you get for qualifying for status. This year you still get eight of them for qualifying for Executive Platinum, while starting next year you get only four of them.

Each can be used to upgrade any revenue fare by one class of service. So you can book the cheapest economy fare available and upgrade to business class, or you can book a discounted business class ticket and upgrade to first class. I’ve done both many times. We’ll see how these “one cabin” upgrades work once American introduces premium economy, which could be a pretty negative development for upgrades.

American-First-Class-777-01
Use a systemwide upgrade to go from business class to first class

American-Business-Class
Use a systemwide upgrade to go from economy class to business class

Still, as of now they’re extremely valuable, and I’ve yet to have one of these not clear on a longhaul flight. So that’s awesome.

However, I do always struggle a bit with deciding how and when to redeem them.

American systemwide upgrade priority

American rarely makes upgrade space available in advance on longhaul international flights nowadays. While you can easily use systemwide upgrades to confirm first class upgrades on domestic flights, you’ll only rarely find upgrade space on international flights in advance. Fair enough, they’d rather sell the seats… I get it.

American prioritizes upgrades first based on status, and then based on when you add yourself to the upgrade waitlist. Here’s why this makes the thought process complicated for me:

  • If you’re an Executive Platinum member and book way in advance, you’ll almost certainly be at the very top of the upgrade list
  • At the same time, if you’re booking way in advance you have no sense of how that flight will sell
  • Meanwhile if you book only a month or so out, you can get a much better sense of how full the premium cabins are and what your upgrade shots are… though you likely won’t be at the top of the upgrade waitlist

Giving an example

Let me give a “real life” example. I’m intrigued by American’s new flight between Los Angeles and Auckland, which launches next June.

The revenue fares aren’t half bad in the off season, and are as low as ~$1,050 roundtrip:

American-Fare

It seems not many people have booked on the new flight yet. For the dates I was looking at, the seatmap looked like this:

American-Fare-1

American-Fare-2

While seatmaps aren’t a completely accurate indicator of availability, I think it’s safe to say that if I booked now I’d be among the first Executive Platinum members to be on the upgrade waitlist, and therefore would be the first (or among the first) to clear.

At the same time, there are “only” 28 business class seats. It could be that in a few months almost all the seats sell, and then I should have known all along I wouldn’t clear. Meanwhile if I only booked a month out, I might not be at the top of the upgrade waitlist, but at least I’d have a good sense of how good of a shot I had at an upgrade.

American-787
American’s 787 business class

Bottom line

I’m starting to realize that I probably should redeem my systemwide upgrades for flights further in advance. On almost all flights some upgrades clear, even if it’s just at the gate due to other passengers misconnecting. If you’re actually the first person on the upgrade list, I think you’ll rarely go wrong.

Still, there’s something not fun about being on an upgrade waitlist for over eight months, and for that matter I don’t actually usually plan my travels that far in advance. As a result, I usually end up booking fairly last minute and comparing a bunch of flights to see which gets me the best shot at an upgrade. That can be useful for flights to London, Sao Paulo, etc., where there are many frequencies per day. That’s a lot less useful to Hong Kong, Sydney, or Auckland, though, where there’s just one flight per day.

American-Economy
The thought of ending up in economy for 15 hours is no fun!

To fellow Executive Platinum members, what’s your strategy for redeeming systemwide upgrades? Do you “blindly” put yourself on the upgrade waitlist as far in advance as possible, or book closer to departure and try to figure out which flight gives you the best odds based on how full it is?

Comments

  1. Ben, Let me ask you something. If I book an economy seat and make a call to aa call center asking for a upgrade (I’m not a elite member) using 25k aadvantage miles + $350 some months in advance and you (executive platinum) try to use one of your system upgrades after me, do you have priority just because your status? Or in this case, priority just for paid seats?

  2. Thanks Lucky – my strategy has always been to get on the list asap – months in advance. Usually works, as you say though, takes some time. Question: Do you know how AA determines upgradeability when you have a partner on your ticket? I travel with my wife (who has no AA status) a lot and that has resulted in me being offered an upgrade while she is some way down the list….I would have thought the fact the tickets were purchased together and I was using two SU’s would have meant they’d be treated together….?

  3. I have one more flight next week that will push me to EXP for the year. This article is timely, as I’m wanting to fly to New Zealand from LAX as well using the SWU, but for late next year so those flights aren’t in the system yet.

    Does AA confirm the SW when you book the flight or must you wait to see if you get the SWU?

  4. @Alonso – When you pay for an upgrade using miles + cash, they are confirmed immediately and they can assign you seat numbers right away.

  5. @ Alonso — It goes by status first and then by when one is added to the waitlist, so if you haven’t cleared before the Executive Platinum adds themselves to the waitlist, you’d be trumped. There’s no differentiation between using systemwides or using miles plus a co-pay.

  6. @ Dave — Up until the day of departure she should have the same priority, as far as I know, assuming you’re on the same ticket. The “catch” is that if you’re on the same ticket and only one upgrade seat opens, you’d be skipped. Day of departure everyone clears based on their own status.

  7. @Lucky – it has been my experience that the GA will call the lounge or call me up to the gate and ask if me and my companion are OK being separated in the event only one upgrade will clear.

  8. Hey Lucky, I had a EXP friend apply a SWU for me for a longhaul flight to Asia on the 787 months back. I’m pretty sure I was among the first to be put in the list. However, since I’m a PLT, so does it mean EXP members will trump me if they put in a SWU request right before the flight, or will my SWU stay among the first in the waitlist since my friend who applied it is EXP. Thanks!

  9. PLEASE book this flight in Main Cabin Extra, as it’s a win win:

    1. If you get the upgrade to business then it’d be your first (or maybe no longer your first, but among your first) time trying the product, and you’d get to sample it longhaul right away.
    2. If you get an upgrade to premium economy if they introduce it, it’ll be your first time in premium economy and you could come up with an amazing review.
    3. If you get stuck in Main Cabin Extra then you get an interesting review as it’d be your first ultra longhaul economy flight.

  10. I will only book international flight if I can be confirmed in biz. Since that doesn’t work anymore, I use them on Lax-Jfk on the 321 or Lax-Mia on a 777 )or 77w). Sad but I won’t gamble on 12 holes in coach.

  11. The post may pass for a bit of travel blogosphere wisdom, but it seems like false choice to me.

    The one rule and only rule that I go by for the best chance to clear a UA Global Premier Upgrade (GPU) is “request it as early as possible and then forget about it.” That’s because there is absolutely no downside that I can see to requesting a GPU/SWU as far out as possible if one knows for sure that one would be taking the trip. If an upgrade does not clear, the instrument (GPU/SWU) will be redeposited so that there is really no downside to requesting early, especially on routes with a limited number of flights. On the other hand, I see no need, benefit or upside at all to delaying an upgrade request simply to have “sense of how that flight will sell.” By the time you get the “sense of how a flight will sell” you could have missed on the opportunity to start as high as you could have on the upgrade list…

    If a route has a lot of flights, then the chances of clearing an upgrade may also be better, in which it may make sense to play the “waiting to pick ‘n choose” game, otherwise just “request it and forget about it” and you’ll be pleasantly surprise…about 90% of the time in my case!

  12. @ DCS — The whole “if one knows for sure that one would be taking the trip” is sort of a big point. I think most of us can plan with more certainty a month out than 10 months out, for example. Also, your scenario assumes there are no alternatives. For many of us, we can either redeem miles or book a paid ticket and upgrade. So there is an alternative to booking a revenue ticket, if the upgrade shot doesn’t look good.

  13. Does AA release ANY confirmable business class upgrade space in advance on any international routes anymore? If so what are they? I switched from UA to AA last year via the EXP challenge and while I’m happy not to have to pay a few hundred dollars more for an upgradeable fare, United does release a fair amount of “confirmable at booking” upgrade space in advance. And while I might be willing to gamble on a 6-7 hour flight to Europe, there’s no way I wanna gamble on sitting in coach (even if it’s MCE) for a 15 hour flight.

  14. @Lucky I think you misunderstood @Alonso or something… A paid ticket with a paid (with miles and copay) upgrade is confirmed and done when made. No waitlisted anyone will take it away.

  15. @ Peter — Right, sorry if I wasn’t clear. If there’s confirmable upgrade space then there’s no risk of anyone taking it away. But if the upgrade is waitlisted (inventory is the same whether using a systemwide upgrade or trying to upgrade with miles plus a co-pay) then the Executive Platinum member would be prioritized ahead of the non-Executive Platinum member.

  16. @ KevininRI — Confirmable upgrade space typically matches saver level award space for international business class. So it’s extremely tough to find, but sometimes you’ll find some to Europe, South America, etc.

  17. We buy the Econ ticket when the price seems good and get on the UG list ASAP. Usually that means 7-9 months out.So far we are 2 out of 4 on HKG this year.PSP-DFW-PSP is our toughest UG. 1 for 8 so far.

  18. Booked DFW to HKG over July 4th weekend about 1 week in advance, choosing dates that showed good availability. Outbound to HKG cleared several days before flight and J cabin was not full, Return cleared 25 hours before departure. On that segment FA told me that I was very lucky to have cleared since many EP,’s were in Y complaining about not clearing. Before leaving HKG I booked similar trips in early September and late October, again picking dates that showed good J availability.. Outbound SWU’s did not clear for either trip. I rescheduled the September trip for a different day that showed good availability at time of booking, but it did not clear either. Unfortunately the # of passengers already waitlisted is not available when booking, so you have to guess by the number of MCE seats that have been claimed. In my case, since I am not willing to sit in a Y seat for more than 4 (scheduled) hours, I now find SWUs to be almost worthless. I used the fare value of my September failed HKG trips, together with 2 SWUs to book my domestic Xmas trip. The Y ticket cost together with the $500 for 2 change fees is about the same amount I would have paid for booking an F fare. I have concluded that, for me, it no longer makes sense to maintain EP. I will fly less and will burn my approximately 2 million miles, since I will no longer need to fly revenue tickets to maintain EP.

  19. @Lucky — Then that’s how you should have set up the scenario. I simply responded to the way you had set things up, which seemed like a false choice for someone like me who (a) knows a year in advance which long-haul trips I’d be taking and (b) travels for business for an employer who would reimburse only for Y tickets.

    I know a year in advance which trips I’d be taking and that purchasing anything but Y tickets won’t be an option, therefore, upgrades are very important to me, especially on my preferred long-haul TPAC trips. So I request my GPUs as far out as possible…and traveling mostly upfront as a result.

  20. @DCS: there’s a big difference with how UA handles upgrades though. AA priorities by status then when you got waitlisted, while UA does it by status and then fare level, and only uses time waitlisted (and that’s check in time) as a tie breaker. Basically with UA unlike with AA there’s no benefit to upgrade priority to booking way in advance.

  21. A couple commenters named one of the reasons I–as an EXP–would have no issues if we have to purchase PE to clear into J with an SWU (or purchasing PE at least puts you ahead of someone in Y): because we don’t want to risk being stuck in Y for 14+ hours.

  22. @ Curt — Don’t disagree with that, but when you look at premium economy pricing, in many instances you can actually book business class for less during a sale. For example, Los Angeles to London in premium economy is ~$2,000, while we often see business class fare sales which let you snag it for ~$1,500. At that point you’re better off just paying for business class.

  23. @lucky this is a bit off topic but did it ever occur to you that on delta those 250k~ qualifying miles would’ve requalfied you for Diamond right away(assuming you easily spend $25k on a SM cc)?

  24. As EXP AA I buy my tickets 4 months in advance! I always get an upgrade 24hs before departure! The only time that I did not get it was JFK/MAD, because it was a B757 flying on Friday! Some years ago It was pretty easy to get an upgrade as soon as you booking! Now it is almost impossible!! AA does not release seats until 24hs before departure! One of the best AA employees is Nieves, every time that I call EXP AA and she answers the phone, she try harder to find an upgrade!!

  25. @ Lucky I’d pay for business class outright if I saw sale price like that on routes I fly. The majority of my longhauls are to Australia, where I’ve never seen J fares like that. Have you seen J sales lower than PE on any Australia routes?

  26. Jesus people, Y is not that bad. Take the upgrade if you can get it, but it is not worth rearranging your trip or adding extra connections just so you can sleep on the flight IMHO.

    People like @Ken seem like they are caught in the status game. If you want to take a trip, take a trip. Paying $500 in change fees because you can’t get J seems silly.

  27. @Curt–The trick with Australia (at least recently and if you have the time) is to fly from Canada, e.g. YVR. On certain dates next month, for instance, you can find round trip YVR-SYD for US$3500 in J going through LAX on AA’s 77W. Well worth the cost of positioning, if time is not of the essence 🙂

  28. @02nz: “there’s a big difference with how UA handles upgrades though.”

    The difference is much smaller than you seem to think because most UA 1Ks typically purchase the lowest GPUable Y fare (W), which largely takes the fare class out of the equation and makes upgrade time request the tie-breaker — the same as for AA.

  29. @DCS: I don’t have access to United’s booking data and imagine you don’t either, so I’m not sure whether it’s true that “most” 1Ks purchase the lowest GPU-able fare. There are plenty of times where that might not be the case, as 1) 1Ks might purchase a higher fare (easy to do on united.com) to get higher priority; 2) the lowest fare filed in a market (e.g. one-way PEK-SFO) might be higher than W; or 3) due to revenue management the lowest available fare at time of booking might be higher than W even if lower fares are filed. But regardless, when upgrade availability is tight – in other words, when it matters – the tie-breaker after status and fare class is NOT time of booking but time of check-in. So booking 11 months in advance doesn’t help you if you check in an hour before departure.

  30. @02nz — Simple deductive reasoning. I purchase only the lowest GPUable fare (typically W) and yet my GPUs usually either clear before departure or I am usually at the top of the waitlist. E.g., I am leaving from LGA through ORD to PVG this coming week, and returning 3 weeks later from HKG through ORD to LGA, and the upgrade for every segment, except for the final ORD-LGA, cleared weeks before departure. If there were very many 1Ks purchasing higher fare tickets, I suspect that I would have less success than I have had clearing SWUs or finding myself consistently at the top or near of the waitlist. The whole point of upgrades is to save money by purchasing a lower cabin of service ticket and traveling in high cabin, and I think that it would defy that objective to purchase a more expensive than the cheapest ticket that’s GPUable. I also suspect that I am not the only one who feels that way, as the requirement to purchase a more expensive Y fare to be able to use a GPU is a common complaint among UA 1Ks.

    The scenarios that you describe do occur (e.g., I once found a V ticket that’s a higher fare class in pecking order than W that cost less than a W fare) but those are exceptions, which affirm the rule, rather than being the rule…

  31. I just missed my first international upgrade in 3 years coming back from Hong Kong. I had booked it as miles and cash and then requalified for EXP before the flight. Going to HKG I was upgraded and the agent switched my upgrade to a systemwide. I was worried about the time stamp and told them not to switch the return and that I would watch it and call in, but they switched it anyway. On the return I watched for 48 hours as 21 seats were upgraded. I called from HKG twice to verify everything was in order and the correct May 22 time stamp was still indeed on my reservation. When I checked in for the flight at the airport, I was not on the upgrade list AT ALL. Once I got to the Cathay lounge I called AA yet again and they said all was in order. Obviously it wasn’t. Obviously as a newly minted EXP that booked way ahead I was not pleased to spend the longest route in coach. Many of the agents no longer know how to do things and in some cases the results matter a lot. And my call from the Cathay lounge I was on hold for 30 minutes as an EXP!

    Systemwides and other upgrades seem to now only be cleared about 25 hours before the flight. I do check the seat map carefully before deciding which flights to choose and I usually book fairly well in advance. Never got it wrong until this last experience. Did not leave a good taste in my mouth.

  32. @o2nz: “the tie-breaker after status and fare class is NOT time of booking but time of check-in.”

    That’s outdated.

    All upgrades, including those on the waitlist are prioritized according to time of request:
    “All travelers on waitlisted Global Premier Upgrades, Regional Premier Upgrades and MileagePlus Upgrade Awards: Prioritized by Premier status of the traveler, then fare class and then TIME OF REQUEST.”

    On the departure day, the traveler does not need to do anything because even at check in, the time of upgrade request is still prioritized:

    “Priority within 24 hours
    New waitlist requests for MileagePlus Upgrade Awards, Regional Premier Upgrades and Global Premier Upgrades can be made until 24 hours prior to departure. If we haven’t confirmed your upgrade by the time you check in for your flight, you will be added to the Upgrades list at check-in, so there’s nothing that you need to do after submitting your original request. Our upgrade systems process requests, PER THE PRIORITY LISTED ABOVE, until three hours before flight departure, at which point our gate agents will handle all remaining upgrade requests.”

  33. Hi Lucky, Can you give some details on the best ways to get membership to American Executive Platinum or other Airline Clubs that allow for upgrades and lounge access. I don’t travel a great deal but do spend quite a bit on my credit cards, so would be particularly interested in any method not involving a lot of travel.

    Thanks!

  34. I’m still confused about the differences between AA’s Systemwide Upgrades/Complimentary Auto-Requested Upgrades and UA’s Regional+Global Premier Upgrades/Complimentary Premier Upgrades. My impression is that the respective airlines’ complimentary upgrades are just that, in that a elite member will be upgraded to a higher class, space pending, with no action required on the part of the traveler. I’m having more trouble with Systemwide/Regional+Premier Upgrades.(I’ll refer to these as “limited” upgrades from now on.) Are they coupons essentially? I would think that redeeming an upgrade would be immediate and definite but language in your blog as well as many others makes it seem that it is not so. From what I can tell, even when redeeming a limited upgrade you still have to be confirmed and there is a chance you will not get the upgrade. So what’s the point? Why not just rely on complimentary upgrades? If you request a limited upgrade but don’t get it will you be refunded that coupon?

  35. I’ve been a top tier flyer with AA from day one with AAdvantage. 70% of my flying is overseas. Long range planning is not something I can do. 45 days out is long range, often less then a month. I’m sitting with 9 SWU’s unused this year (expiring end of Feb) plus 9 for 2016. I need (and want) to hit the ground running where ever I land. Y seating has occasionally been ok. J is really important to me. During 2016 I will be purchasing J from what ever carrier has the best pricing, timing, with a few other factor. AA will have my business for flights I can confirm with a SWU or is price competitive. AA no longer values EXP’s who have proven loyalty and value through the many MM BIS. Newer members who obtain status have no comparisons to what the program used to be. (It wasn’t the EXP’s who made AA broke – if anything it was the EXP’s who helped AA with both loyalty and much needed cash flow). There have been NO meaningful enhancements to the program in the past 2 years, with 2017 having AA win the race to the bottom. SWU’s – my flying should not feel like going to the roulette wheel.

  36. The SWU system as it now functions punishes AA’s best customers. They need to allow cancelation without penalty on those tickets that the SWU doesn’t clear RT at lease 5 days before departure, A customer who regularly purchases premium cabin tickets is not going to fly Y because his SWU does not clear, AA used to clear SWUs at booking making them useful to premium passengers, but now the only practical use for a premium cabin customer is J to F.

  37. @Andrew Thanks! I didn’t even think about Canada! I have specific dates I need to arrive in Australia, but I’m not fussed on how long it takes me to get there. I checked YVR-SYD for next month and don’t see any J on AA for even close to that price. Though, I did find it for $3300ish for Malaysia Airlines itinerary (TPAC operated by JAL). With positioning, that would put me at around $3600. That’s great for TPAC J, but after reading reviews of JAL J, I’d rather pay $1000 less for premium economy. But your advice led me to check CX out of YVR, and I was able to price out at $2500 (including position from BNA), rather than the $3300ish it usually costs out of LAX. Thanks so much! If you have any other routing advice, I’d love to hear it: curt@curtandersonmusic.com.

  38. I always use seat maps as an availability guide. I travel SAN-LHR via DFW rather than ORD or JFK because the route is less popular and you’re more likely to get the upgrade. If I book pretty early and travel alone, I usually get upgraded. My husband and I are both EP and we’ve had terrible luck with SWUs this time. We tried using them to LHR, CDG, and NRT this year and got upgraded on two of those 6 journeys. So we have used 4 SWUs and have 12 left. First year we lost any.

  39. Jenna, you haven’t had terrible luck. All of the SWUs issued in the merger without a comparable increase in international seats has caused a situation where too many SWUs are chasing too few seats. The reduction of 8 to 4 SWUs is intended to correct the imbalance. That is still a year away, so SWUs will still rarely clear for another year.

  40. Not sure if this question has been asked but here we go. Once you hit the 100-hour upgrade window for EXP, do SWUs no longer matter? This question would pertain to anyone not an EXP, because I assume after once the 100-hour upgrade window commences, those EXP who have applied a SWU will clear before those EXP who have NOT applied a SWU upgrade, correct? So if a Gold member applies a SWU from an EXP friend/family member, which is allowed on AA, and it has not cleared before the 100-hour upgrade window, they can pretty much assume they are shit outta luck as an EXP/P with or without a SWU will automatically clear before them. Is this logic correct? Please let me know!

  41. I think you’re wrong! Yay.

    I was told,by an admirals club agent, that priority order is:
    1. SWU EP
    2. SWU P
    3. SWU G
    4. No SWU EP
    5. No SWU P
    6. No SWU G

    You will likely clear your SWU as gold the day of the flight as they want to make sure there’s no last min SWU EP/P or concierge key (who seem to be a law unto themselves).

    Hang in there! Before I was EP I was P for a couple of years and got many SWU with my EP husband on the day.

  42. @lucky, If I’m waitlisted for an international flight upgrade using my SWU, will my account balance reflect that I’ve used one, or will it wait until I’ve used it? I’m just concerned that I haven’t actually been put on the waitlist because nowhere in the flight itinerary or my SWU balance does it show that I’ve requested one.

  43. I’ve been a loyal AA customer for 26 years. Been EP for much of that, including the last 4 years. Used to be able to book flights in advance with SWUs, but not any more. Most of my travel is now east from the UK, so I only travel to the US 3 or 4 times a year, but never with more than a 2 month’s notice. Result: 2014 8 SWUs unused. 2015 6 SWUs unused. 2016 managed to use 1 in 2 trips so far.
    A benefit that you are given that you cannot use has a negative effect on loyalty.
    SWUs seem now to be space available upgrade coupons. I’d feel better about AA if they got rid of the broken promise SWUs and just upgraded me occasionally

  44. I called American, they said that I do not get automatic upgrades on international flights…so I had to use system wide upgrades. Am I missing something? Can I be added to the Waitlist for Upgrades?

  45. You can only upgrade on internationals with SWUs or spending miles. SWUs get it before miles. There’s not “free” upgrades like in domestics.

  46. Nothing is automatic international. Domestic yes.

    Example: if a Chicago – LAX 2 class flight is empty in First and your on it in Coach – and the only EXP flying that day – a Comp upgrade will be made if requested.

    If a Chicago – LHR flight 2 class is empty in J – YOU WILL not be given an upgrade automatically. You must request either prior to the flight (in your reservation) or with some time at the gate to use a SWU for that upgrade. If space is available – and J is empty you should be able to upgrade. Otherwise the upgrade request is time stamped – and if there are people who have requested earlier they get the upgrade first.

    Using Expertflyer.com you can see if your flight has any C inventory available OR if you are buying business if A inventory is available. Also you can program EF to give you a notice if the inventory opens up prior to the flight (not moments before). Of course you can use miles+money to upgrade international as well if space is available.

  47. Hello all.. SWU….. I just arrived to China yesterday after a long flight from Texas. Booked ticket 4 months out and no SWU cleared. The flight 2 weeks ago from Barcelona to Houston also did not clear SWU. My wife and daughter are both EXPLAT and between the 3 of us we have almost 30 SWU to this date October 14 2016. I have terrible experience to have them cleared. I called the ExPlat line when I boarded and he said he was supplied that they did not clear with 4 months out getting the ticket. I went with American and the Advantage only for the program but I think I am being fooled to think that I could use my SWU. I have one more flight in November to FRA and we will see if they clear from Houston to FRA Nov.23 for my family. Keeping record I am 2 for 8 tries. Not what I signed up for. What is sad is that I could apply my miles to other programs after reaching 100k but I kept them with AA to earn the SWU that I am learning now is lottery.

  48. @Lucky,

    I’m traveling out to Asia in two days, a family member applied his SWU yesterday to my flight. There are 11 seats left in business class. The status is still showing requested. How soon should I get a notification for upgrades? I’m just a regular member on AA with their citibank card. How are my chances? My family member is a EXP with AA, does that matter?

  49. My experience is a family member EXP has no impact. The pecking order is well defined and feels often like its not followed – no transparent at all. If I were you I would put an alert on Expert Flyer for the flight and upgrade category. Your EXP family member may be a EF member – for frequent flyers it’s been excellent. IF the inventory pops up and you get a notification – next step is to call AA and request the upgrade – again your family member making the call to the EXP desk may help. Nano seconds count here. Good luck – please post what happens.

  50. @lucky, So you think it will be better to have my family member to call and request for the upgrade instead of waiting at the waitlist? im checking in tonight and the upgrade waitlist should appear on the app? right?

  51. Been a EXPLAT for 4 years – I agree the new SWU policy of AA is a total waste of time for international flights.

    I will be moving all my business to UA who at least honors their GPU policy.

  52. Update. My family now have have 16 SWU with American Airlines. I now feel so betrayed on the advertising of the benefits with Ex. Plat. I take trips that I find interested to us with being able to use a SWU. but now with about 40% clearing I find this to be a very misleading promise. Maybe AA could note in the benefits of Executive Platinum use of SWU is ( international flights)
    How stupis is AA to tell me that I can use my SWU on the leg from Dallas to Houston ! Really they suggested this !

    Then the Flight from Frankfurt to Dallas that I booked July for November 25 my SWU did not clear. So booking almost 6 months does not work. Then I see it is a 777-200 crap. The entertainment was smaller than my iPhone. Junk equipment mixed with the wonderful 787 or 777-300.
    My family have made our choice that this is our last year to be Ex. Plat with AA. With their lack of response to my concerns I truly feel mislead. Alaska is our choice, but still looking.

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